The picture Ricardo Cosentino took looks like one of the many you may have seen go viral on social media.
A power pole stands smack-dab in the middle of an otherwise normal sidewalk.
“I’ve noticed this before, and I think lot of people in the community are the same – they come across this kind of design and they just accept it,” said Ricardo. “They don’t think twice.”
Cosentino lives in Mayland Heights and tries to walk or cycle wherever he can. On this day, he was heading to Fiasco Gelato, and he did stop to think twice about the multiple power poles in the middle of the sidewalk along 19 Street SE, just south of Centre Ave.
“It was just directly in the middle – exactly in the centre of the sidewalk,” he said. “You couldn’t go around it without going on the road or the grass. So I just took a picture of it.”
A spokesperson for Enmax told LiveWire that the poles have been there since 1964 and that the sidewalk was put in afterwards.
John Bolger manager, development for Roads with the City of Calgary, confirmed that city records show the sidewalk being installed in the 1990s.
“Our policies and standards have definitely changed from 20-plus years ago,” he said, “Our current process today would not allow us to have a conflict.”
He said sidewalk designs now keep in line with the city’s pedestrian strategy – which aims to make Calgary safer, more comfortable and interesting for walking.
He noted that they have now flagged this area, despite the fact that there have been few complaints so far.
“Even though we did a preliminary search of 311 data that showed there were very few complaints at this location, it has been identified now, so we will take a look at it, review it and prioritize it.”
Cosentino thinks few people in Mayland Heights have spoken up because they’re just used to it.
“The older generation, they don’t notice it because it’s been that way forever,” he said.
“And then you have younger couples and families moving in. They don’t like to depend on the car as much. They’re walking around, and it’s changing a bit.”
The sidewalk, he notes, leads directly to the Max Bell CTrain station and there is no sidewalk on the opposite side of the road.
However he has found that most people tend to drive and park when they want to take the train. Residents recently flagged safety concerns at that parking lot.
Cosentino said the power poles along 19 Street are just one example of poor design in a growing community that needs more attention.
“There’s no real vision for our neighbourhood,” he said. “We’re not part of Renfrew. Renfrew is getting an ARP (Area Redevelopment plan), and the ARP does not include us.
“We’re also not park of Rundle or Marlborough. We’re kind of stuck in between and we see stuff like this.We need a little bit more vision.”